An astrophysicist. An archaeologist. A strange pendant that seems to be four hundred million years old and exhibits strange properties. Now you have the makings of an adventure novel. The story is told from the point of view of Adrian, the astrophysicist, who has been working in the Atacama desert in Chile, setting up radiotelescopes when he is overcome with altitude sickness. He returns to London and is convinced to apply for the Walsh Foundation Award to continue his work in the Atacama.
At the same time, the French archaeologist Keira is working in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia when a severe dust storm, a shamal, destroys her work and sends her back to Paris. She has been given a strange pendant by a little boy named Hari. He found it in an extinct volcano in Lake Turkana. It looks like ebony, but it is not wood. It is hard like a stone but it is not a stone. Keira does not know what it is but she wears it on a leather thong around her neck. She reluctantly must leave the Omo Valley and go home to Paris and decide what to do next after the shamal.
In Paris, while living with her sister Jeanne who works at a museum, she meets Ivory, a retired professor, who seems to be interested in her pendant. He asks if he might have a go at trying to date it. Keira agrees and gives him the pendant. Unbeknownest to her, Ivory has seen a similar object years ago which also could not be dated, but he send the pendant to two separate labs to be dated, without success. He returns the pendant to Keira and explains that it is very ancient but could not be dated and so hard that samples could not be taken. In the meantime, the cell that Ivory used to work for is activated to keep an eye on Keira and the object since Ivory was right to assume that there would be other objects like the one they had previously found. Keira’s is the second. Ivory thinks there wil be more objects.
Jeanne enters her sister’s research in the Walsh Foundation’s search for worthy projects to receive its award. Keira practices her presentation and sets of for London. In London at the presentation, she recognizes Adrian, who is presenting his work on trying to discover the light of the first day, just as Keira is trying to discover the first human being. Adrain does not recognize Keira as the woman he once loved 15 years ago but Keira recognizes him. They reacquaint and Keira leaves her pendant at Adrian’s house and leaves to return to Paris. Adrian would have liked to get back together with Keira but Keira had won the Award and was returning to the Omo Valley to work. Adrian was going to Hydra to visit his mother.
While at Hydra, Adrian and his friend Walter notice a strange property about the pendant during an electrical storm. It seems to project many dots on the wall that look like stars. They make arrangements to have a laser analysis of the pendant done on Crete. They arrive on Crete and when the laser is beamed at the pendant, the pendant shows dots the patterns of constellations. Walter takes pictures. The director wants to take the pendant but Walter breaks his jaw and the two friends escape and make their way back to Hydra and eventually back to London. Walter convinces Adrian he has to get Keira to show him where the pendant was found and they can learn more about it then. Adrian decides to go to the Omo Valley to see Keira. From there, the real adventure begins, with Adrian and Keira being pursued by the cell as they try to learn more about the pendant and as they try to learn if there are more objects like the pendant out there.
This is a suspense-filled adventure novel, a love story, a mystery all wrapped up into one. Marc Levy has crafted a masterful story of love lost, love found couched in the form of an adventure and a mystery. We are kept wondering what this pendant really is, who they people who make up the cell are, will Adrian and Keira find what they are looking for, what ARE they looking for? I would recommend this book with its jump from city to city, country to country. It is highly entertaining and a jolly good read.